August 5, 2017

Watuaga River

  • 5.4 miles
  • 3 – 3.5 hours duration (I failed to properly track this trip with my fitness app)
  • 1 cache hidden by LakeBum

Today I spent a fantastic time on the river with three special people: Deban, Rob and Kara. This was a pleasure cruise only, with no plans for geocaching.

We started our trip at the Blevins Road boat ramp. There were some folks here preparing to paddle the river on stand up paddle boards, including a woman with a rather large dog. It was a sight to see that dog sitting on the paddle board with her. We found out her name was Lucy and she is a therapy dog.

The water level was fairly low since generation wasn’t due to start until noon. With an early start, we knew we would be safely in front of the water. This meant a few bumps along the way with exposed rocks, but a much safer paddle for those who hadn’t been on the water for a while.

The weather was perfect for a day on the river. It was a sunny day, but not too warm. It never got over 72 degrees during our trip. Deban was excited to see a blue heron that flew along with us from time to time, as well as a multitude of ducks.

About half way through the trip, Rob revealed that he had brought a cache container with him, and he stopped off to hide it along the way. Soon after, we stopped for a rest and lunch break.

We were close to one of my hides so I took the opportunity to wade over to the island it was hidden on to check on it since it hasn’t been found this year. The current was stronger than I thought, and at one point I lost my balance and fell into the water. I’ve got a pretty good knot and small gash on my knee from that mishap. I failed to find my cache, and believe it must have washed away in this spring’s storms. I’m hoping to return in the next week or so to replace it.

While we were eating lunch, the paddle boarders came by. Lucy fell off the board in the rapids, but quickly hopped back on board. She seems to be a pro at this paddling stuff.

We moved on down the river, and enjoyed running Goat Rapid, the Wave Train, and a couple of other fun rapids along the way. Rob had taken on a little water and had to stop off at the Wagner Rd boat ramp to empty his boat.

After passing under the Watauga bridge, we soon realized that Quarry Falls was not running. This is my first trip on this stretch of river that the falls have been dry. They are man made, created by pumping water from the nearby quarry. It was strange to see bone dry rock where I normally see a rushing, mighty falls.

We ended our trip at the take out point across from the water treatment plant. As Kara and I sat in the shade to wait for Deban and Rob to return with his truck, I actually felt a tiny bit chilled. Hard to believe this was an August day!

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